COLLEGIUM SYSTEM (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     26th April 2024        
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Context: The Supreme Court Registry has refused to accept a petition to end the Collegium system of judicial appointments and revive the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), seeking to “prevent needless waste of judicial time and energy”.


National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC)

  • About: NJAC is a group in charge of selecting and moving judges in the higher courts of India.
  • Established By: 99th Constitutional Amendment Act, of 2014.
  • Objective: The NJAC was meant to take the place of the collegium system used to choose judges.
  • Composition: 6 persons Chief Justice of India (Chairperson), Two other senior judges of the Supreme Court, The Union Minister of Law and Justice, Two eminent persons: nominated by a committee & Leader of Opposition of LS.

o In October 2015, the Supreme Court's Constitution Bench, with a majority of 4:1, ruled that the NJAC was against the Constitution and supported the continued use of the collegium system.

Collegium System

  • About: In this system, decisions about choosing judges or promoting lawyers to the Supreme Court and moving judges between High Courts and the Supreme Court are made by a group consisting of the Chief Justice of India and the four most experienced judges of the SC.
  • The way judges are chosen and moved around is based on decisions made by the SC, not on a law from Parliament or a part of the Constitution.
  • The term 'Collegium' isn't mentioned in the Indian Constitution. It has become a practice based on legal judgments.

Constitutional Provisions on Judge Appointments

  • Articles 124(2) and 217: These articles specifically address the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts respectively.
  • Presidential Authority: The President holds the authority for these appointments as per the Constitution.
  • Consultations Requirement: The President is mandated to consult with judges from both the Supreme Court and High Courts regarding appointments.
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